The course down at “The Gorge” in Kentville, Nova Scotia greeted us on race morning with slick roots and sticky mud after torrential downpour in the day’s prior. A small Elite Women’s field made for an easy start, hopping on Haley Smith’s wheel as we dipped into the woods for our first of four laps. Near the end of the lap, on the major climb, I put myself in front so I could lead through the faster section down towards the start/finish and then be in position to up the pace through the tight, lumpy part of the course where I felt like I was riding the best.
The ~10s gap I open up through the slow tech parts of the course was short lived, as Haley pulled it back in the second half of lap 2 on the faster descending, then immediately putting the pressure on once she caught me. I did my best to get on her wheel and hold on, but didn’t have the power to ride back on after losing a few bike lengths. A bit of a lapse, maybe taking a bit too long to re-gather myself saw the race slip away from me on lap 3. Both of our paces steadied for the final lap, and I rolled in for my fourth Canada Cup 2nd place finish this summer, 1:05 back.
This was the closest I’ve been to winning a Canada Cup, and I really, really wanted to have a stand-alone victory to go with the Overall Title. Being able to race near the front of the domestic scene this season has been a great experience, I learned a lot, challenged myself to try and keep up with some of our countries best pro’s, and will do my best to come back and step it up again next year.
Kentville was also the first team trip for AWI Racing and it was a great fit, helping make the time away still feel like home. Brody also had a knock-out race, contesting for the podium even after a series of unfortunate (but now hilarious) brake-related events, to finish 5th in the Elite men’s race.